Monday, September 28, 2009

A Halloween Treat!

I got my copies of "On a Dark Dark Night" this past weekend. It's always a treat to see the finished books. There are a lot of steps to the publishing process so sometimes the book actually arrives months or even years after the authors and illustrators have done their part. As you can see, Eddie helped me unpack.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ten Best Halloween Picture Books

I like creepy stuff. But as a mom of a kid who was traumatized by the Halloween section at Walmart when she was a toddler, I don't like things too creepy when it comes to kid's picture books. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite, not too scary, books for All Hallow's Eve...

Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
This isn't really a Halloween book but it's about bats so I think it's appropriate for the season and it's super, super cute. Brian's illustrations are just awesome (love the snack bar scene!) And if you find that you like this book there is a sequel, "Bats at the Library."

The Haunted Ghoul Bus by Lisa Trumbauer and Jannie Ho
A bus full of monsters and zombies could be stuff for the late, late show but Jannie Ho's quirky illustration makes it a fun ride on the "ghoul" bus.

The Spider and The Fly by Mary Howitt and Tony DiTerlizzi
This one isn't exactly a Halloween book but this film noir version of Spider and the Fly is perfect for reading on a dark October night.

Wattilda by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner
I LOVE Mark Bruehner's illustrations and Wattilda is no exception. I still haven't found all the hidden pictures in this book.

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
Clever and bold illustrations help children send the monster away. A great choice for really young kids.

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
I laughed out loud the first time I read Adam Rex's verses. And his illustrations are just amazing! And if you like this one, check out the sequel, "Frankenstein Takes the Cake" This one would be best for grade school kids, the humor may be lost on the little ones.

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin
I never considered this a Halloween book but I saw that Barnes and Noble had it on the Halloween table. And since it is one of my favorite picture books, I will include it in my list.

Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy E. Shaw and Margot Apple
When my daughter was little, we read "the sheep" books over, and over, and over again. You parents know what I'm talking about. But unlike some of the books we read again and again, I still like them. Margot Apple's sweet illustrations are just perfect for this little rhyming book.

Georgie by Robert Bright
Sadly, old-fashioned books like Georgie, written in 1944, have gotten pushed aside for flashier more colorful books on the bookstore shelves. But Georgie, the timid little ghost, still has some life left in him. I sure you will be able to track down a copy at your local library. And if you child likes Georgie, there are a dozen more books in the series.

On a Dark, Dark Night by Jean M. Cochran and Jennifer Morris
Yes, yes, I know, I'm shameless! But I couldn't really make an honest list of my favorite Halloween books without including my own, now could I?

Needle Felting

Okay I'm just not feeling the needle felting. I don't know if it's because of the wool I have or it's me but I seem to be struggling a little with it. I won't even show you what I made (my kid's laughed uproariously) But when I see all the neat stuff other people are making it makes me want to keep trying. My friend Susan Mitchell seems to be taking to felting like a duck to water. How cute is this little circus bear???

And check out these guys from artist Kit Lane. I just can't stop smiling when I see these little guys. They are so felting awesome!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Free Jan Brett Cross Stitch Patterns

I don't cross stitch. Well, I did make a picture of a rose when I was about ten. But I thought I'd pass this on in case someone else out there is into needlework and children's book illustration. I was perusing Jan Brett's website yesterday looking for coloring pages. I'm sure most teachers and librarians are aware of the dizzying array of coloring and activity pages on her website. But I was surprised to also find free cross stitch patterns of some of her artwork. There are quite lovely. They also look fairly complicated.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ahhhh! The Food is Alive!

My mother-in-law was cleaning out her kitchen the other day and passed a shopping bag full of stuff on to me. The two gems in the bag were a madeleine pan and this, The Metropolitan Cook Book. This little pamphlet was put out by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1957. Now you would think it would be in a life insurance company's best interest to keep you alive as long as possible, but with recipes like "cheese fondue" with 3 cups of cheese and 4 eggs, it's a wonder that they didn't go bankrupt.

But it isn't the recipes that make me love this little book, it's the illustrations. Sadly, the illustrator did not get credit, but how can you look at all these little smiling veggies and pork chops and not smile yourself? Or at least be slightly disturbed.

The following are a couple of my favorites. Just a warning, if you are border line vegetarian these may push you over the edge.

Here's we see a pot roast in some sort of drug induced stupor begin carted around by happy-go-lucky pork chops carrying what appear to be sprigs of parsley. Where are they taking him? Are they offering him to the humans so they themselves won't be eaten? We may never know.

What the h* kind of yeast are they using??

And if you didn't feel sorry for the pot roast, how can you not feel sorry for this poor schmuck? Not only is this guy about about to be broiled and eaten, but he's got these little creeps mocking him. You think there would be a little aquatic solidarity, but no, they think they're safe in their little bowl. Just you wait little fish, just you wait!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Salem in October

I've always wanted to visit Salem Massachusetts at Halloween time. I've been there in the summer and it's really lovely but this year I finally get to go at Halloween. I knew Salem did lots of events around All Hallow's Eve but I had no idea how much. Check out this website to see all the events that will be going on the entire month of October.

This year Jean Cochran and myself will be at the Cornerstone Books for a Halloween costume party on October 17th. We will be sharing our new picture book, "On a Dark, Dark Night." We'll be doing some crafts and hopefully partaking in some Halloween treats. Come join us. I'll be the one in the pointy hat. ;)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Fall Promo

Here's a fall promotional piece I did for the Illustration for Kids fall mailer. After I did it, I realized she looks like Sally from the Peanuts. I'm wondering if I should change her hair.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Random Acts of Publicity

Random Acts of Publicity is a brilliant idea on the part of Darcy Pattinson. Too often I see or read something that I like and it doesn't occur to me to pass it along. Which when I think about it seems very silly and selfish. So I will try harder to remember to shout it from the roof tops when I read a book or see something that I like.

Sooo, today's task was to tell someone about a friend's book. Well, I was in my studio pretty much all day. But I did recommend The Hunger Games to my friend when we were picking up our kids from school. I'm not a friend of the author, Suzanne Collins (we were suppose to recommend our friend's book) but my daughter and I both loved the first book. We went out and bought the sequel as soon as it was available. Of course my daughter pounced and devoured it. I just got my hands on it today. I can't wait to see what happens!

And one more thing that I'd like to recommend. And this one is by one of my friends, Jannie Ho, but it's not a book. Can you tell I'm having trouble following the rules here? Jannie designed these really cute Chicken Girl rubber stamps. How cute are these??

Gibson Book Store Event with Marty Kelley

If you live in the Concord, NH area please join us on October 10th at Gibson's Bookstore. Jean Cochran and I will be appearing there to promote our new book, On a Dark, Dark Night. We will be joined by the talented author and illustrator Marty Kelley. Marty's books are filled with the funny, slightly yucky type of humor that little kids (and myself) love. In fact, Marty's new book may have been written about me. It's called, "The Messiest Desk." Okay, it's probably not about my desk, but from what I've seen of it, it looks like a really cute book. I can't wait to get a copy!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

New Promotional Piece (with recipe!)

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I wonder if that old adage also holds true for art directors (grin). Just in case, I thought it would be fun to create a series of promotional postcards that include some of my favorite recipes. This one is for my mom's chocolate pumpkin bread - yum! Mom used to make extra and freeze some. But alas, it's just as good frozen so we'd eat those loaves too.